Tell the truth; do you care what your husband does for a living?

I thought I was above the superficiality of titles. I did. I must be. I’ve supported my husband’s decision to stop practicing medicine. I want him to be happy. I want him to find whatever it is that will fulfill him in life. I want him to find his passion, or at least I convinced myself I did until he recently told me about his plans for a new career.

pretty sure my husband would be content being a Jedi

I share pretty much everything on this blog, but can’t divulge the specifics of the job just yet- but suffice it to say- he will not be using even a smidgen of the 12 plus years he invested in medical school, residencies, fellowships and the latter in this new position. And well, I don’t support it. In fact, as ashamed as I am to admit this, I’m even a little embarrassed by it. That makes me sound awful- like a true title coveter (or something like that).

Obviously a person has to respect what their spouse does; and when I married my spouse the level of awe and respect I had for him, in his steadfast ability to get through medical school and become a double board certified internist and nephrologist- well it was through the roof- intense. I was blinded by his white coat, stethescope and the power he exuded doing his hospital rounds- all of it- well it just had me swooning.

Of course back then I didn’t see how miserable he was… or maybe I just didn’t want to acknowledge it. I liked the man I married- and while I felt such a sense of respect and awe for the job he did everyday-inside he was slowly wasting away. And later, after he left medicine, he told me each day as he drove his car over the bridge to get to work, he considered just driving straight into the sea.

I know, this is part of my marriage contract; to go with the ebb and flow of what develops-  I never had my husband sign a legally binding document in blood that he would never change- that he’d remain exactly who he was, frozen in time at the age of 40 for the duration of our union. I know it’s ridiculous to even suggest that he wouldn’t change, but by the same token I feel robbed of a life that I thought I would have- that I’d envisioned. And in the same breath I know that part of being married is allowing for and accepting the changes and decisions your spouse makes; unfortunately I am having a very hard time grappling with this one.


  1. says

    Well… I can understand this. And part of me thinks: your reaction is totally understandable and justifiable. You had a certain picture of your life/future with your husband, and it’s dramatically changing. There’s nothing wrong in having negative and mixed emotions about that.

    My experience has taught me that if I completely stifle my negative feelings about something as important as my marraige… that bad things will happen. I’ll get nasty. Or depressed. Or miserable. Or all of those combined — and possibly for long periods of time. So I totally applaud your honesty here, and I bet you will find new things to love and admire about your husband after the changes become more, ummm, settled. (No, I’m no Pollyanna — honestly!!)

    Cheers to your frankness, and best of luck with your upcoming life changes. 🙂

  2. Gail says

    I can relate. My husband is a general surgeon and also wants to get out of medicine because of all the interference, BS, greedy insurance companies, etc

  3. says

    As you rightly point out, your discomfort with this change doesn’t make you a title-seeker, or shallow. It’s all wrapped up in the uncertainty of any of our futures. The bigger question of “The person I married has changed. Who is he now, and do I like it?” happens to ALL of us at some point or another. I love your honesty, too, and I hope you’re able to take pride in his following his heart once things get more settled. 🙂 Hugs! xoxo

  4. says

    As always you are a breath of fresh air among the “everything is just peachy, I adore my hubby and kids” breathless bloggers out there. I applaud your honesty, and acknowledgment that sometimes the plans you make are laid bare by others at-the-time-unknown designs. Just know that you have our support and encouragement and if it helps you just a little bit to share your feelings than we, as your loyal readership have done our part.

  5. says

    This is such a brave thing to write about. I, too, was drawn (first) the career and title of my husband, and while he still continues to be that man, I wonder how I would feel if he wasn’t? Of course anyone gives lip service to the idea that it wouldn’t change anything, but it’s so hard to predict how one would REALLY feel about it.

  6. says

    I love your honesty, Melissa, and I admire your bravery for so being so open about this. When you said he thought about driving into the sea every time he got in the car to go to work, I got tears in my eyes. My husband recently lost his job (I won’t talk about this online, he is too private) and he would love to change careers. But he’s very, very sensible (too much so for my liking) and he’s not a risk taker. I’m sure leaving medicine was extremely hard for your husband and that somewhere in his mind he questions it everyday. It was his life, his way of supporting his family. I have a friend in England who was a very successful psychiatrist and now plays in a band. He’s poor but very, very happy. Maybe your hubby’s new career will being him the kind of happiness he’s been looking for.

  7. says

    His job isn’t who your husband “is”. Think about this: does his new career mean he’s giving less of himself? Shedding his work ethic? Is he doing something immoral? It’s frustrating to look at a future that becomes less financially secure instead of more, but that doesn’t change the man. I’ve been supportive but frustrated by my own husband’s career changes, each over the past 8 years seeming to come with at least a small pay cut. But I’ve never known a man who works harder, who dedicates himself to making our lives better, and who knew with each step what the potential could be in the future. And on the flip side, I know if I said I wanted to quit my good job to pursue anything that made me happier, he’d support me fully, and have similar reservations. Best of luck to the two of you on this new path.

  8. Shosh says

    My husband is a lawyer, but he’s a poor boy from small town Wisconsin. Whenever I hear about white man privilege, I want to laugh because it certainly skipped his hometown. When he was in law school (after eight years of being a marine because he’d be either in jail or dead if he stayed in his small town), we dreamed of this fancy new life. But nine years later, after years if working for the government and now finally at a firm we’re drowning in law school debt and now- his life was almost cut short from a blood clot I. His lungs. In his heart, he wants to be a ski bum. In my supportive smile-cuz-I-need to way, I say I support him. I say it’s cool that he doesn’t want to play the game, that he doesn’t want to be partner, that he wants to move his Jewish family to Utah so he can ski… But in truth, I miss those dreams. I can’t help wondering what our lives would be like if he loved Iron mans and skiing a little bit less and lawyering a little bit more that we might just have some breathing room. I know where you’re coming from– because at the bottom of all this worry is really something deeper—- love. Because I you didn’t love him, you wouldn’t be worried because you’d be gone…

  9. says

    Without knowing ANYTHING, all I would say is to treat him the way that you would want him to treat you if the situation was reversed. You guys are partners in this life, and you still have a lifetime ahead of you.
    Great honesty, though. Makes all of us think.

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